Being Salt And Light

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Matthew 5:16 (NLT)
16  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Robert Bellah is the Elliott Professor of Sociology, Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. Throughout his academic career, he has been very interested in the influence of religion on society. In an interview in Psychology Today, several years ago, he said, “We should not underestimate the significance of a small group of people who have a new vision of a just and gentle world. The quality of a culture may be changed when two percent of its people have a new vision.” (John Stott, “Christians: Salt and Light,” PreachingToday, Tape no.109; http://www.PreachingToday. com)

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

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“When You Fast…”

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

(Matthew 6:16, NLT)

“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.”

The Didache, is a first or second century document that relates to us outside the New Testament the teaching of the early church. This document “prescribed two fast days a week: Wednesday and Friday.” For early Christians; this was seen as a regular part of daily discipleship. John Wesley sought to revive the teaching of the Didache and urged early Methodists to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. He felt so strongly about this matter that he refused to ordain anyone to the Methodist ministry who did not fast on those two days. Matthew Henry said, “Fasting is a laudable practice and we have reason to lament that it is generally neglected among Christians.” Hudson Taylor the great missionary and founder of China Inland Mission, said, “In Shansi I found Chinese Christians who were accustomed to spend time in fasting and prayer. They recognized that this fasting, which so many dislike, which requires faith in God, since it makes one feel weak and poorly, is really a Divinely appointed means of grace. Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are-dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “I wonder whether we have ever fasted? I wonder whether it has even occurred to us that we ought to be considering the question of fasting? The fact is, that this whole subject seems to have dropped right out of our lives and right out of our whole Christian thinking.”

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

True Meaning Of Christmas

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Luke 2:8-11 (NLT)

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 

We’ve all read and heard these Bible verses about the shepherds before, taught by pastors and Sunday School teachers at Christmas time. We can even hear these verses on TV each year if we watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Charlie Brown spends the show as so many people do today, looking in all the wrong places for the true meaning of Christmas. He thinks that maybe it’s putting on a Christmas play, or finding just the right tree to decorate. But the other kids all argue over the details of the play, and call him “stupid” for the scrawny little tree he buys. In the end, his friend Linus tells Charlie brown the true meaning of Christmas by reciting the Bible verses about the shepherds, and about Jesus’ birth.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

My Faith Is Based On Jesus

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

James 5:15 (NLT)
15  Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

In the movie called the Matrix there is one of the best encouragements to share our Faith with others that I have ever seen. The Spiritual leader of that rag tag bunch goes by the name of Morpheus and the young deliverer who he believes is the promised one goes by the name of Neo. Needless to say not everyone, actually most everybody doesn’t share his enthusiasm concerning Neo and the prophesies of his coming to the rescue. In one scene as Morpheus is standing before the council and asked to defend his actions, he is confronted by the military antagonist in the movie who says to Morpheus “”Not everyone believes what you believe Morpheus”. Very calmly and boldly Morpheus replies, “My Faith doesn’t require that they do”. Wow, what a statement, I totally agree with that. My Faith isn’t built upon the notion that I have to convince others. My Faith isn’t weakened when someone else says they don’t believe. My Faith doesn’t change to suit the climate of the current culture. You see My Faith is built upon my relationship with Jesus Christ. My Faith is demonstrated when I share with others who Jesus Christ is to me, what he is doing in my life and how I trust him with my future. Don’t allow the world to define your Faith. God Bless you all as you become the Hands and Feet of Jesus.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Keep Running

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Scripture often refers to the Christian life as being like a race. Unlike most competitions however, running the race in spiritual terms is not to try to be first, but to be faithful and finish! The Christian race is not a competitive event to see who comes in first, but an endurance run to see who finishes faithfully.  It’s like the experience of Bill Broadhurst, who entered the Pepsi Challenge 10,000-meter road race in Omaha, Nebraska. Ten years earlier, surgery for an aneurysm is the brain had left him paralyzed on his left side. But on a misty July morning in 1981, he stood with 1,200 lithe- looking men and women at the starting line. The gun cracks! The crowd surges forward. Bill throws his stiff left leg forward, pivots on it as his right foot hits the ground. His slow plop-plop-plop rhythm seems to mock him as the pack fades into the distance. Sweat rolls down his face, pain pierces his ankle, but he keeps going. Six miles and two hours and twenty-nine minutes later, Bill reaches the finish line. A man approaches from a small group of bystanders. Bill recognizes him from pictures in the newspaper. He’s Bill Rodgers, the famous marathon runner. “Here,” says Rodgers, putting his newly won medal around Bill’s neck. “You’ve worked harder for this than I have.” Broadhurst had also been a winner. He didn’t win but he was faithful and finished the race.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

“But We Have Forgotten God”

Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Psalm 100:4 (NLT)
4  Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.

 

The following are from two separate speeches by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, “…It is the duty of nations as well as of men to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord. “We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subject to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins; to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. “But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. “Intoxicated with unbroken success we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. “It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

Give Thanks In All Things!

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Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:

Psalm 92:1 (NLT)
1  It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to the Most High.

Here is a list of things housewives are most thankful for:

“For automatic dishwashers because they make it possible for us to get out of the kitchen before the family comes back in for their after-dinner snacks.

For husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house because they usually make them big enough to call in the professionals.

For children who put away their things & clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents

For teenagers because they give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.

For Smoke alarms because they let you know when the turkey’s done.”

Remember to give thanks in all things!

In Christ,

Pastor Mark